Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Maybe it’s just because it represents all the fingers on one hand, but I think my son’s 5th birthday is a big milestone in his life.

Five years ago, on May 12 at 9:30 p.m. (it didn’t fall on Mother’s Day in 2008), our oldest son Beckett was born in a West Chester, Pa.

Many of you may be wondering why it was in Pennsylvania, while others already know the reason. We are an adoptive family.

I have never disclosed that in this space previously because we felt it was a private matter. While we still believe that to be the case, we have nothing to hide when it comes to the fact that our two young boys are adopted. We are quite proud of it, actually, and our kids are aware of their backgrounds.

In fact, Beckett seems to think all kids are adopted, or chosen as we like to refer to it. In time, all of this will be further explained in great detail, but for now both kids enjoy hearing about their individual adoption stories, which of course we are thrilled about.

Years from now, we understand there will be many questions about their birth parents, and we will be happy to divulge any information they request. For now, though, it’s amazing how Pam and I often forget about the fact our kids are adopted. Life is just too busy and hectic to focus on it, but when there are milestones in our kids’ lives it’s impossible not to reflect on it.

It’s funny how emotions conjure memories on an involuntary basis, and that happens a lot for me when it comes to my kids. Waves of sentimentality are as frequent as they are unpredictable.

When I think about the last five years with our son Beckett, I get overwhelmed with the emotional memories of his first few days and all that has transpired since.

When Beckett was born on that Thursday night in 2008, Pam and I were given a wonderful gift by his birth mother of being in the delivery room with him.

Actually, Carson’s birth mother also afforded us that opportunity, but he was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and we were simply not able to get up there fast enough to see his birth. We missed it by a couple hours, so our first glimpse of Carson was in the hospital’s nursery through the glass window. I remember both of us wondering which one was him and being so excited to hold him for the first time.

With Beckett, we had the most wonderful of experiences and cherish those early memories. Due to our close relationship with his birth mother, Pam was first to hold Beckett after he was born and I had the honor of cutting the umbilical cord. It’s a treasured memory. We were, and are to this day, so thankful for being blessed with that unique opportunity to welcome our son into the world. I remember fondly the unique feelings at the time because of the symbolic meaning behind it.

While it was such a moment of happiness, concerns over his health then took over, as he spent the next week in the hospital with complications. We never left his side and spent the week in the hospital with him until we were finally able to bring him home. We have been chasing him ever since.

Why share this personal story now?

It’s a result of a recent conversation with a friend who is walking down the path I was on some years ago. He and his wife have discovered they are not able to naturally have children and are weighing their options while dealing with their grief. Unfortunately, Pam and I know all too well what this couple is feeling. I also know there are others struggling with this as well, and that’s why I am sharing our private experience in this public arena.

Like so many couples out there, Pam and I were unable to conceive the so-called “natural way”. As a result, we decided to embark on the in vitro fertilization path, which was an expensive and painful journey for both of us, particularly my wife, who had to endure a number of sensitive procedures and bouts of prescription drugs, including needles to her stomach.

Without going into all the details of this roller coaster ride, which I have blocked from my memory for the most part, we were unsuccessful. After some months of healing and introspection, we found ourselves in the car heading to Philadelphia to begin discussions with adoption agencies.

Within a few months, we were informed we had been selected by a birth mother in Florida who was to have twins. Unfortunately, that adoption plan failed, as the birth mother changed her mind, and we had the unenviable task of driving home from Florida with two empty car seats in our car. There was lots of praying on that long trek home.

Unrelenting, we got back in the adoption game, and were matched within a few months in a scenario that would eventually bring us Beckett.

His birth five years ago was the happiest day of my life. It was so perfect and incredibly meaningful in light of all the unfortunate circumstances that had transpired previously.

As is the case with all parents I believe, birthdays provide us with the opportunity to relive that special day and remember everything that took place in detail.

In our case, it’s a celebratory moment of a new life as well as overcoming unfavorable odds and breaking down barriers that stood in our way to becoming a family. That’s what Beckett represents to me above all.

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